A step back is not a step backward

Not going to lie, I completely forgot to prep today’s post. Lately I’ve been trying to figure out the healthiest balance of responsibilities, personal activities, and time to just… not do anything. I’m not great with the last one in particular, but then I end up putting too much on my plate and/or too much pressure on myself, and other things start slipping through the cracks.

I love the phase of life that I’m in right now, and it has brought so many wonderful things. But it’s also been really challenging. Sometimes it’s little thing after little thing, or sometimes one big thing comes out of the blue and knocks me back. I’m doing my best to try to find the balance between acknowledging that some things suck but that they don’t have to be a catastrophe.

Last weekend was the first time I cleaned my apartment in probably a month. It’s not my personality to do that, and I could have felt disappointed or frustrated that I wasn’t more diligent. I very briefly was. But 1) it’s done now and I did clean it, and 2) feeling like that was doing me exactly zero good. So I’m trying to change that habit.

Unfortunately, I know it’s one that a lot of emerging adults struggle with. We often feel pressured to be doing all the right things or living a particular sort of life. We look around and it can feel like we’re the only one who doesn’t have it all together. But that’s not true. This is the time of life where you really are going at your own pace and figuring out who you are apart from school and often away from family. You’re determining what matters most to you and forging the path for the rest of your life. It’s a hugely important time, but there’s no one way to do it.

Still, setbacks or things going wrong — whether we could have done anything about them or not — can feel like we’re at risk of being derailed. And that can be a scary feeling. But as the title says, a step back isn’t necessarily a step backward. And a step backward isn’t a final sentence. For better or worse, it’s just life. And our job is to keep moving forward.

To help ease the stress of the pressure I put on myself to try to avoid steps backward, I’m trying to take a few steps back:

I’ve decided to try to be both more intentional and more limited in my technology and media consumption. I’m not doing anything drastic, but I will be scaling back on how often I scroll through social media, and not wasting my time with news that doesn’t serve a purpose (whether that purpose is educating me about current events or occasionally positive stories just to make me smile). I’ll still be watching TV and movies, but I’ll also be trying to read more.

I’m not going to stick to crazy rules about cleaning the apartment and doing my laundry, which will hopefully lead to a balance between cleaning it almost too often and definitely not often enough.

I’ve already been minimizing commitments that I don’t enjoy, and making extra effort to invest in relationships. This one has made a huge improvement, especially as I’ve started to view building relationships as not just something in my schedule but something that can be both enjoyable and productive.

I have too much stuff, and not a ton of space to put it in. So I’m going to be making a serious effort to whittle down unnecessary junk and live a little more minimalist. More on that coming later.

I’m trying to accept the fact that life has unknowns, and there is simply no way I can prepare for everything. So the new goal is trying to be prepared, without being overly stressed.

Only you know quite what your life looks like right now, but my guess is that one of these things might have resonated with you. If it did, maybe think about whether a step back might be helpful, and remember that doing so might even be a step forward.

What has helped you when you need to take a step back? Let me know in a comment below, on Twitter @ohgrowup, or Instagram @oh.grow.up! Thanks for reading, and good luck adulting!


2 thoughts on “A step back is not a step backward

  1. Brianna Wummer

    omg i totally agree with this post! so many people are fixated on being perfect and having their life figured out, but so much pressure is relieved when you just take a step back and focus on what you like/want. i gotta say, ever since i unwound my self from trying to be perfect (this happened around April), ive had so much more fun!

    Liked by 1 person

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